The Department of Transportation (DOT) has had in effect for more than 20 years a policy of helping small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities and women, in participating in contracting opportunities created by DOT financial assistance programs. The Department, through its Operating Administrations, distributes billions annually to help finance thousands of projects across the country. Approximately 85 percent of the assistance dollars is for construction. The major portion of the construction funds is allocated to State highway and transportation agencies for highway construction. The balance is provided to local public transit and airport authorities for mass transit and airport facilities.